22.5 x 15 inches
Collage on Cotton Rag Paper
The Plant Daddy series celebrates a long time friend in my life who I call “Plant Daddy,” a person who has been instrumental in teaching me how to care for my plants. In 2018, I went through a rough break up and was rethinking my relationship to cis men. I was committed to learning how to set strong boundaries and manifesting relationships that were not repeating patriarchal toxic cycles.
I connected with a cis man who was a farmer and permaculturist, and he committed to help me work on resetting the plant vibe in my house. My former partner was awful to be in relationship with, yet he had a major gift when it came to plants and growing food. When we separated, I realized I was left with a lot of plants to care for and I didn't really understand all their nuances around care. I was also dealing with diseases on these plants that I had no idea how to address. Lots of plants had tiny parasites that could only be seen upon close inspection. In hindsight, I realize that some of the diseases on these plants were almost metaphors for the parasitic relationship that my ex had with me.
Plant Daddy helped me heal a lot of my plants and gradually, my indoor and outdoor plant family thrived. I was especially fascinated with the care that he would give every single individual plant. Sometimes he would clean leaf by leaf so that the plant was able to properly do photosynthesis, and sometimes he would individually pull off scale from each plant with a qtip and alcohol. He taught me how to connect with each plant individually and identify their needs, and to differentiate their diseases.
As we built our friendship, we built a tradition of him coming once a quarter to help me with my growing plants, whether that was repotting them or sometimes cutting them so that we could propagate them and make more plant babies. It was through our relationship that I learned how to feel at ease and even safe with cis men again. His calming, soft, gentle demeanor represented to me the type of masculinity that I wanted to call in - a masculinity that cares for animals, for plants and for ALL of life (including children and humans) - a masculinity that supports healthy environments for ALL beings to thrive.
This series celebrates Plant Daddy and depicts individual plants in their own unique beauty. The concept for these works I was also inspired by the amazing artist, Jonas Wood.